Welcome, wise one. We don’t need to tell you that books are going to help your business succeed – that’s why you’re here.
What we do need to tell you is which books are going to help your business succeed.
After all, there’s a lot of junk out there.
So let us guide you through 20 of the best cliché-free, fact-filled books for eCommerce entrepreneurs.
We’ve got books about innovation, books about marketing, and books that’ll give you a whole new way of thinking.
1. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
You understand why your business exists, but does your customer? This Amazon bestseller could revolutionize the way your brand communicates.
At the core of Miller’s book is brand storytelling. But it isn’t all about you – readers are encouraged to make their customer the hero of whatever story they’re telling.
Miller argues that this is the best way for an eCommerce business to keep people engaged. Think about some of your favorite movies or TV shows.
The protagonist has a problem, and they meet a guide who gives them a plan. There’s the chance this hero could fail, but the guide leads them to success.
Building a StoryBrand makes that well-known framework apply to the real world, too. Here’s a summary:
- Great for everyone, from entrepreneurs to seasoned experts.
- All about simplifying brand messaging and making customer connections.
- Focused on marketing strategies and profitable results.
2. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you will have heard some great analogies. This book explores one of the best.
Vaynerchuk, social media pro and author of some of the hottest books for entrepreneurs, uses boxing terminology to make marketing easy to understand.
See, your jabs are the things you do in eCommerce to engage people in the lead up to a sale. You post great content, or you take on a charitable initiative.
You’re lining your business up to land the perfect right hook – that conversion from lead to customer. In this book, Vaynerchuk gives you the blueprint.
Here’s why Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is worth a read:
- Great for multichannel marketers and personal brands.
- All about earning every customer with the perfect setup.
- Focused on using social media in the right context to achieve success.
3. Don’t Make Me Think: Revisited by Steve Krug
Chances are, running an eCommerce business or starting one from scratch means that you’re a very busy person.
Well, this book was made for you. It’s short, concise, and packed with illustrations – take it on your next plane ride, or flick through it on your commute.
Krug wrote the first edition of Don’t Make Me Think way back in 2000, and it’s still known as one of the most standout books on web design and usability.
So the newer version is well worth a read. It’ll give you straightforward, no-frills tools to help you streamline how your eCommerce site looks.
In fact, Don’t Make Me Think is a great book for any online business model. Here’s a summary:
- Great for the time-sensitive eCommerce entrepreneur.
- All about website usability, and changing how we think about site design.
- Focused on practical, witty advice that feels like common sense.
4. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
Never underestimate the value of the written word in eCommerce. The way we communicate with customers will influence how much money we make.
If you want to attract people to your online business and hold onto them, too, Handley’s go-to guide for content marketing will help you to find the right words.
The book is all about being smart about the delivery of your brand message – something a lot of businesses struggle with.
From showing up in search results, to giving each product the best chance of selling, this is a book that’ll take your business to the next level.
Here’s a summary of why Everybody Writes is one of the best marketing books to read:
- Great for small businesses, content writers, and marketers.
- All about carrying marketing messages in the right way.
- Focused on giving insights into the strategies that lead to amazing content.
5. Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
Take a look around – growth hacking is everywhere. Some of your current favorite brands might have made their way into your life by using this tactic.
If you need to know what it is, Ryan Holiday will break it down for you in this book.
In fact, Growth Hacker Marketing is one of the most important books you’ll need, if you want to shake up your marketing plan.
So what’s he talking about? Well, multi billion dollar businesses which have become huge – and thriving – without spending money on traditional advertising.
If you want a piece of that success, here’s a summary of the book:
- Great for new business owners who want to grow rapidly.
- All about how to access customers and publicity without old-school techniques.
- Focused on the new rules that have disrupted the marketing industry.
6. Hooked by Nir Eyal
Ever wondered what makes customers return to the same business, again and again? Check out this book and expand your knowledge of the ‘hook cycle’ in no time.
We all know that social media is addictive, but building a product that users stay loyal to is a subtle art. Here, you’ll get a complete how-to-build guide.
You might not be convinced that this book will help you – after all, finding the perfect product is a mystery to many – but it comes highly recommended.
Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, said “read Hooked or the company that replaces you will.”
If the praise of ecommerce entrepreneurs has you intrigued, here’s a summary:
- Great for product managers, founders, designers – even a total beginner.
- All about creating shopper habits that stick, and a product that sells.
- Focused on giving the reader real, actionable insights.
7. The Everything Store by Brad Stone
Add some success stories to your pile of eCommerce books. Nothing fires up a business building strategy like a little inspiration.
Love him or loathe him, there’s no denying that Jeff Bezos has set the standard for entrepreneurial success. Think about the stratospheric rise of Amazon – it is everywhere.
Any merchant can sell on Amazon, and Amazon sells just about anything. While the store itself shouldn’t be your business blueprint, this book will give you food for thought.
In The Everything Store, you’re given an insider account of the life and calculated expansion of Amazon into a global superstore.
Here’s a summary of this biographical book:
- Great for any entrepreneur, especially the would-be online merchant.
- All about how Amazon has grown exponentially and entered new markets.
- Focused on the risks that Bezos and his Amazon colleagues have taken.
8. Convert! by Ben Hunt
Conversion rate optimization. It’s talked about all the time, and you know it’s pretty important when it comes to your online store, but how do you perfect it?
Ben Hunt’s solution-based book is centered around converting browsers to buyers. It presents straightforward fixes for what can be a complex blend of art and science.
If your brand is big on social media but fails to hook paying customers, or maybe you run slick ads with little return, have a little read.
You’ll find a clear, step-by-step guide for creating a compelling website. It was devised on the back of Hunt’s own achievements in doubling conversion rates.
Here’s a summary of this potentially lucrative book:
- Great for web designers and those who want to be SEO proficient.
- All about making your conversion rate skyrocket.
- Focused on identifying the essentials and sharing dozens of techniques.
9. Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers by Cyndi Thomason
If you’re looking for a focused, structured eCommerce book, you’ve found it. This one cuts straight to the point.
Thomason focuses on four key pain points that an ecommerce merchant might encounter as they’re starting or running a business.
Inventory management, relying on debt, understanding financial data, and maintaining focus are all struggles that are addressed in the book.
Overcoming them isn’t easy, but Thomason gives you the framework to do so.
Here’s a summary of one of the most important books about eCommerce you’ll read:
- Great for all eCommerce businesses, particularly small enterprises.
- All about guiding you towards making your online store profitable.
- Focused on designing a business plan to navigate four common pitfalls.
10. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Think of the most iconic logos of all time, and it won’t be long before the Nike swoosh flashes across your mind.
In a world filled with brands, only a few cut through the noise. Nike is iconic, its logo seen absolutely everywhere, and on everyone.
But the brand started with a $50 investment, and a bunch of imported Japanese shoes being sold out of the trunk of Phil Knight’s car.
In Shoe Dog, Knight shares his candid memoir of the lessons, setbacks, and amazing successes that come with building a brand from the ground up.
Autobiographies make for great inspirational reads – here’s a summary:
- Great for fresh entrepreneurs, as well as Nike fanatics.
- All about the life of Nike and, in turn, its plucky founder.
- Focused on sharing the inevitable ups and downs of growing a business empire.
11. Competing against Luck by Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David S. Duncan
Here’s a new one. In this transformative book, the authors argue that customers don’t buy a product or service – they hire it.
Christensen believes that the best eCommerce stores have identified the jobs that customers do, and provide products which will help them.
So, it’s not about understanding the customer as a persona. Rather, the goal is to understand what each shopper does, and how to appeal to those tasks.
With the approach laid out in the book, you have the chance to totally overhaul how you innovate. How do you identify future customer needs?
Here’s a summary, if you need this book to help you answer some questions:
- Great for innovators of products and services.
- All about forgetting what you think you know, and seeing things differently.
- Focused on a non-conformist framework and how to use it to make more money.
12. Hook Point by Brendan Kane
Hooking people in: it’s such an art, there’s more than one book you should read about it. In fact, this one presents a whole different concept.
Where Hooked explores how brands get customers addicted to their products, Hook Point is all about capitalizing on the first 3 seconds of someone’s attention.
If you can’t do it, they’re off. Think about all the competitors you’re rubbing shoulders with online – shoppers don’t have to come into your store.
Kane reveals how product, service, and brand marketers can make it in this often fickle world. Whether online or offline, you can find the hook point.
This is an invaluable source for eCommerce merchants trying to unlock omnichannel retailing. Here’s a summary:
- Great for marketers, self-promoters, and small business owners.
- All about capturing people’s attention.
- Focused on showing you how to package your messaging for maximum impact.
13. The Startup Way by Eric Ries
There are loads of books from loads of so-called experts – how do you know who’s actually a pro? Well, if somebody has successfully launched a global movement, take notice.
Eric Ries is the co-founder of The Lean Startup, and The Startup Way breathes new life into his guiding principles to innovate, test, and pivot.
Described as “mission critical reading” by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, this book is an invaluable resource to anybody looking to succeed in an eCommerce industry.
With stories of transformative business expansion at huge corporations as well as humble startups, there’s plenty to be inspired by here.
Here’s a summary of why this Lean Startup leader is worth listening to:
- Great for business leaders, team managers, and entrepreneurs.
- All about idea incubation, scaling at speed, and taking risks.
- Focused on a framework for how to manage in a dynamic environment.
14. Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential by Carol Dweck
A lot of books will give you tangible marketing tools or the framework for a new business strategy. Others, well, they’ll just make you think.
Carol Dweck is a renowned psychologist, known for exploring how one particular trait influences our achievements in life.
In a nutshell, Dweck says there are two mindsets: fixed, or growth. If people believe they can get smarter, they work harder to achieve their goals.
Why not apply this way of thinking to the way you run your eCommerce business?
If you’re ready to access some powerful knowledge about cultivating the growth mindset, here’s a summary:
- Great for industry leaders and people who are hungry to scale a business.
- All about how our mindset can steer us towards success.
- Focused on identifying how we think, and how to harness the growth mindset.
15. The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
Remember we said that Eric Ries was co-founder of The Lean Startup? Well, so is Steve Blank.
And although it was published 8 years ago, Blank’s book for startup owners – a collaboration with Bob Dorf – is still a go-to guide for entrepreneurs.
One of the bigger books on the list, The Startup Owner’s Manual provides instructions in the form of graphs, charts, and checklists.
It’s a super scientific look at business innovation, something that a lot of other books will only touch upon. If you want to drive profitability, though, it’s worth the effort.
Here’s a summary of the book and why you should give it a read:
- Great for startup owners, of course.
- All about using the Customer Development method to bring your business to life.
- Focused on avoiding the pitfalls that can harm your chances of success.
16. SEO 2020 by Adam Clarke
Everybody knows that if you want your eCommerce site to stand out online, you have to ace your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) approach.
Turns out, there’s a book that can help you. SEO 2020 is probably one of the most talked about books you’ll find in your quest for success.
Let yourself become a student of Clarke’s no-nonsense advice. Whether you’re a total newbie or trying to supercharge your eCommerce business, it’ll help.
The book is packed with SEO tricks, strategies, and inside information that’s geared towards helping you make money.
Need to know how to rise to the top of the rankings? Here’s a summary:
- Great for an SEO beginner, or anyone who’s ready to learn new skills.
- All about using Google to your advantage and getting ahead of the competition.
- Focused on multiplying results with the help of analytics and social media.
17. Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance by Howard Tiersky
Whether you’re steering a creaky old ship of a business into new waters, or starting something totally fresh, this book makes for essential reading.
A lot of eCommerce businesses struggle to nail that seamless customer experience. Tiersky is on a one-man mission to change that.
In Winning Digital Customers, he gives readers a simple methodology to follow in order to achieve long term, transformative growth. It’s something any eCommerce store should master.
After all, you make money by keeping your customer base engaged throughout their journey. Without it, they’ll forget you in no time.
If that sounds scary, get reading. Here’s a summary of why Winning Digital Customers should make it onto your bookshelf:
- Great for eCommerce merchants of all shapes and sizes.
- All about embracing that all-important seamless digital experience.
- Focused on mapping out the journey to get people fully engaged in your business.
18. Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin
Let’s be real, not every startup business just gets up and going without issues. It can take time to build something incredible.
This refreshingly honest account of a startup journey is well worth a read. Don’t let it get you down: Fishkin is a leading SEO expert with a multi million dollar business.
But it’s important to know that even the experts face failure. Riding the wave of business growth means making mistakes and moving on.
Make space for a book that’ll give you some reassurance – you never know when you might need it.
Here’s a summary of Fishkin’s book about the truth of a startup journey:
- Great for anyone who’s prepared to take risks to make it in business.
- All about the ups and downs that other CEOs and leaders keep to themselves.
- Focused on giving you the knowledge that’ll prepare you for startup life.
19. Customer Success by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, and Lincoln Murphy
Churn, revenue, upsell – the world of eCommerce has its own vocabulary of buzzwords, but what do they all mean, really?
Well, it all starts and ends with the customer. In this book, the authors show you the building blocks to attaining customer success.
The narrative here revolves around the importance of customers in commerce, and of keeping them at the core of everything your business does.
You want to decrease churn rate and boost your revenue, right? Well take a leaf out of this book, and get it done.
This is one of the best eCommerce books you can buy right now – here’s why:
- Great for dynamic marketers and business planners.
- All about building a brand which is completely centered around customer success.
- Focused on implementing an action plan that takes your business forward.
20. Atomic Habits by James Clear
Sure, this list is for books about eCommerce, but you already know the importance of nurturing your mind as well as your business.
This book is a New York Times bestseller, so it’s worth a read. Inside, you’ll learn how to make tiny behavioral shifts that can transform how you work.
Entrepreneurs wouldn’t be entrepreneurs if they didn’t do things differently. Atomic Habits could help you to hack your whole life, if you want to.
In the world of commerce, you have to keep finding the next best product. A book about behavior might just help you do that more effectively.
Here’s a summary of why this book is selling out:
- Great for people who lead, innovate, or want to make a change.
- All about breaking bad habits and forming new habits.
- Focused on zooming out from your life and analyzing how to switch it up.